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Noughts and Crosses anyone?

January 9, 2015

“Sephy is a Cross, one of the privileged in a society where the ruling Crosses treat the pale-skinned Noughts as inferiors. But her baby daughter has a Nought father – Callum.

“Knife Edge” is the second book in the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman. I have read the first book earlier in the year which was brilliant and left me wanting to read the next one immediately. I thought Knife Edge got off to a slow start and I was slightly disappointed in it compared to the first book, but as I read on there was much more action, suspense and danger which I had come to expect from Malorie Blackman.

At the end of the first book Callum, a main character, was killed which set the mood and expectations of the second book which ends with Callie Rose’s life hanging in the balance- did Sephy accidentaly kill her baby daughter? This shows how anything could happen and no one is safe in Malorie Blackman’s series and gives the books real suspense and the same depth of plot and characters as any good TV series would.

Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman

Checkmate is the third book in the Noughts and Crosses series. This is a book full of conflict and not for someone looking for a happy ending. The book is written retrospectively and from the perspectives of the key characters which was a bit hard to follow at times but I like a challenge and I think it works for the storyline. This book explores the themes of love, hate, sacrifice and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in a society plagued with oppression. The title, Checkmate, skilfully describes the situations the characters are constantly in and the contest between Nought and Cross, right and wrong, love and hate. Overall I thought this was a good book with good messages behind it.

Double Cross is the final book in the series. For a series final I thought it was good as it had a happy ending and a proper conclusion. I thought it could have paid more respect to the first book in the series but I guess considering the timeline the series is spread over, it was enough and there were definitely links connecting new events and characters in this book from the previous one. The title, Double Cross, is clever because it has double meaning and works in well with the series. This book has different themes than the others as it is more focused on getting caught up in criminal activity whereas the first was more focused on oppression in society which I felt had a deeper meaning to it. Overall I thought it was a good book concluding a great series and I will definitely be reading more by Malorie Blackman.

– review by Jason Benbow


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